Google has rolled out changes to its image results that highlight photo licensing and help users to filter images according to their usage rights.
In February, the search engine began testing a licensable badge. Following work with the Center of the Picture Industry, among other image and news organisations, the badge was created to help spread awareness of licensing images and to help owners of images receive credit and payment for their photos. It has now been rolled out to all users following the beta testing, and appears in the bottom left-hand corner of the image preview.
A new filter has also been released to indicate usage rights of image results. Previously, users could filter with the following options: ‘not filtered by licence’, ‘labeled for reuse with modification’, ‘labeled for reuse’, ‘labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification’ and ‘labeled for noncommercial reuse’. Now, the filter is much easier to understand for users who perhaps are unfamiliar with image licensing, with the options being either images with ‘Creative Commons licenses’ or ‘Commercial & other licenses’.
With these updates, when a user searches for an image and selects one from the results, Google will link the licence terms and details, which are provided by the image owner. In some instances, a link will be supplied that will direct the searcher to a page where they can purchase or acquire their chosen image.
Owners or licensors of images must use IPTC metadata formats or Schema.org in order to be eligible for the new badge. They can visit the official documents for information on how to add the badge to their images.
An essential part of any successful website is the use of engaging images. Website owners should ensure that they have the rights to use such images, else risk incurring damaging penalties. The new image search updates released by Google should hopefully provide users with increased awareness of image usage terms, and also help to reduce theft of images. If you need help in sourcing quality images and content for your site, contact our team at Engage Web.